Board of Regents approves new degree programs, renovation funding

The Board of Regents approved renovation funding for Baylor Law School, Draper Academic Building and Allen and Dawson Residence Halls Friday during its annual May meeting. Kenneth Prabhakar | Photo Editor Photo credit: Kenneth Prabhakar

By Tatum Mitchell | News Editor

The Board of Regents approved two new degree programs, three renovation projects and the 2023-2024 budget during its annual May meeting Friday. It also elected new leadership.

A master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies is expected to be available to students in fall 2025, pending accreditation, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Biology of Global Health will be available to students in fall 2024, Baylor President Linda Livingstone said.

Livingstone said the bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Biology of Global Health, a program in partnership with Baylor College of Medicine, is beneficial for students who want to work in health-related fields or build a foundation for medical school. With a growing need for physician assistants, Livingstone said they are expecting a large demand for the program and have a lot of the coursework and faculty to support it.

“The board also approved funding for three renovation projects, all of which are designed to enhance students’ campus and campus living experience,” board chair Mark Rountree said. “Those are renovations to Allen and Dawson Residence Halls, the Honors College space that is housed within the Draper Academic Building and then parts of the beautiful Baylor Law School campus.”

Renovations of Allen and Dawson Residence Halls are expected to begin in May 2024 and finish by fall 2025, while the Honors College and Law School construction is set to begin this summer. The law school is expected to be completed in December 2023.

In addition, the board approved the 2023-2024 budget of $902.4 million — a 4.5% increase from last year — Rountree said.

“We have been blessed as an institution with a comprehensive resource roadmap that ensures the ongoing financial strength, flexibility and long-term viability of the university,” Livingstone said. “We continue to invest in our students, faculty and staff in keeping with our Christian mission, planning boldly for the future while ensuring we have a solid foundation for success in all areas across the university.”

Rountree said the board elected Melissa Purdy Mines as the sole vice chair following a recommendation from a Governance Review Task Force to move from three vice chairs to one.

Rountree, who has served the maximum three years in his role and will continue to serve as past chair for one more year, said William E. Mearse is succeeding him as board chair.

“It has been … a privilege of my lifetime to be able, the last three years, to serve as chair of the board, to work alongside you and all of my fellow regents who give so selflessly of their time and talent and treasure to support Baylor and to advance its calls and mission in the world,” Rountree said.

Tatum Mitchell is a senior journalism and political science major from Chicago. She is starting her fifth semester on staff, and she’s on the equestrian team. The Lariat has been the highlight of her college experience. She’s looking forward to spending another semester learning from her colleagues and making memories in the newsroom. Before college, I was the Editor-in-Chief of a student newspaper and was on a competitive journalism team for news writing. I love designing, writing and everything about working on a student newspaper. Over the summer I was an intern at The Plaid Horse magazine. I wrote press releases, features articles, managed social media accounts and took part in a weeklong non-profit event for young equestrians. Combining my passion for horses and journalism was a great experience. In the future, I'm hoping to be immersed in the professional multimedia environment and eventually go to graduate or law school. I'm looking forward to another year on staff and learning alongside everyone!